Ginsberg on Blake continues – 102

Allen Ginsberg on William Blake’s The Four Zoas continues from here

AG:  Let’s see, what else goes on here?  In the poem America  when America rebels, the dragon-serpent-king tries to bind the states down with big heavy chains, also.  So here we have “…The Spectre dark” – (Los.  Remember, Los is only a Spectre of the Imagination) – “…The Spectre dark/Held the fierce boy Los naild him down..” – (that’s line twenty-eight) – “… naild him down binding around his limbs/The accursed chain O how bright Enitharmon howld & cried/ Over her son. Obdurate Los bound down her loved Joy/The hammer of Urthona smote the rivets in terror of brass..”

So bound him down.  What are the chains?  It’s actually bound him down into a body.  To a mortal body.  Brass – body – Tharmas.

“The hammer of Urthona smote the rivets in terror. of brass” – (So also what this means is that Los has reduced the rebellion to its limit of contraction and opacity – a human kid, too,  I suppose,  a human political revolution in the flesh-body.  But still it’s a spirit rebelling.  A spiritual rebellion which is being bound down into a body also, perhaps.  Would that make sense?  With these chains of blood?)

Student:  Right.

AG:  Chains of blood.  So,”Tenfold. the Demon..” – (Orc) – “… the Demons rage flamd tenfold forth rending/ Roaring redounding. Loud Loud Louder & Louder & fired/The darkness warring with the waves of Tharmas & Snows of Urizen..” – (So then there’s all this noise).

Let’s see.  Where will we go from here?  Then there’s this exquisite.. It really is binding him down into the body, because then there’s this exquisite passage about Orc, now in human form, seeing the secrets of his kingdom of nature, the natural kingdom, and the body life.

So.. “Concenterd into Love of Parent Storgous Appetite Craving..” – (“Storgous” – there’s footnotes all over for that word, because it’s so strange, so it’s instinctive parental affection).

[see, for exampleHarold Blooms note – “Stourgous – Appetite -“Stourgous” is derived by Blake from a Greek word for parental love. Blake later uses that word, Storge, as another name for the river Arnon, which one must cross on the passage from the natural to the imaginative body. Stourgous appetite is therefore the possessive paternal love manifested in some of the Songs of Innocence and must be left behind if the poet is to free himself from the context of nature“]

“His limbs bound down mock at his chains for over them a flame/Of circling fire unceasing plays to feed them with life.” –  (What’s this?  In the middle of this rebellion there’s this weird humor.  Punk-mock!  Punk mock, I’d say)

“His limbs bound down mock at his chains for over them a flame/Of circling fire unceasing plays to feed them with life &  bring/The virtues of the Eternal worlds..”


Johnny Rotten of The Sex Pistols (John Lydon)

Actually, you could say Orc is like punk.  The punk situation now is an Orcean situation, in which the parent imagination is a little bit jealous of you could say Mick Jagger the parent imagination, or (Bob) Dylan, might be jealous of the whole punk wave, which represents a real rebellion, but a formless rebellion without any Urizenic direction, saying, “No future for you, No future for me,” as the Sex Pistols say.  “Sex Pistol” itself is an Orcean image – Sex Pistol.  It’s total fire energy  – sexual energy turned into total fire.  So I would say if you want a living image of Orcean fire you can find the punk haircut, and the punk dress, and the punk rebellion, as a perfect sample of that.

Why does Los get jealous of punk/Orc?  Well, it’s obvious. You can see it played out. Because it threatens the established imagination as it is.  Spiritual beauty is still hankering after the punk, as a possible viable form.  But then the disc jockeys and the record companies have to bind down the punk.  But the psychological thing is that he mocks at his chains, which is sort of like wearing safety pins and putting safety pins through your (t-shirt) or wearing t-shirts with holes in them and then putting safety pins through them.  It’s exactly the same imagination. Mocking at his chains, or making use of, or transforming the image of middle class materialistic….

Student:  (I don’t agree with this)
AG:  Um-hmm.
Student:  I feel this very strongly myself because I’m a young poet.
AG:  Uh-huh.  Yeah, I know.  You have an Orcean position all the time.  That’s our relationship between Orc and Los.  It’s been that all along.
Student:  That’s a projection on your part.
AG:  Sure, it’s a projection on my part.  Sure.  Of course.  What else?  It wouldn’t be a projection on the part of the window!
Student:  No, because you included my sensibility in it when you say that.
AG:  Now listen, Orc.  I’ll bind you down with chains of blood, until Trungpa hears your screams!
Student:  I feel that it must have changed real fast, when….
AG:  Yeah.  Let me finish what I was saying about punk..

The reason that punks wear garbage plastic bags for clothes is (it’s) like mocking at his chains (or) the middle class – it’s a plastic life, alright – alright, okay.  A decade ago everybody was complaining that the American universe was turning into plastic. Well the enraged transformation of that is to denounce Yves St. Laurent and Bianca Jagger‘s clothes and appear at a rock concert dressed in brown plastic garbage bags for pantaloons, sewn together with safety pins and wearing chains,  dog chains, around your neck.  That’s exactly Orc-ean.

Student:  Well, Mick Jagger when he first shows on television (with the Rolling Stones), they came out of garbage cans..
AG:  Um-hmm.  Right.
Student:  I mean, it was the same attitude …
AG:  Yes.
Student:  … it just gets back the same karma.
AG:  Right.
Student:  You have no one to blame, except young people should be able to learn from their mentors that they shouldn’t maybe make the same mistake.
AG:  Right.  Don’t make the same mistake.
Student:  ..(to be prepared)  generally for that possibility.

AG:  Right.  Well, there’s that old thing about … how did Los begin?  Where did we pick up on Los?  He got born in some kind of … I forgot.  But he got born in….
Student:  He came in a furnace..
AG:  Pardon me?  Got born out of Luvah, was it?
Student:  (..born as a smithy..)
AG:  Yeah, and was there some kind of….
Oh, yeah.  Los and Urizen had the same rivalry, too.  Los and Urizen had this big fight just like Orc and Los are having this fight.  Los and Urizen had a fight just like Orc and Los.

Student:  Excuse me.  Could this be likened to those weird people in the Pentagon, where they need to, when they become old men, to fire up another war, and…

AG:  Another form of that, I suppose.  Though I would say the Pentagon is more Urizonic than (this).  It’s a Urizenic form of Urthona.  As imagination, the bomb and the war is all this great imagined thing.  But that would be more like the Demons of the Deep singing,

“Draw thy bow Vala from the depths of hell thy black bow draw/And twang the bow string to our howlings..”

to be continued

Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately seventy-five-and-a-half minutes in and concluding at approximately eighty-three-and-three-quarter minutes in

One comment

  1. I like very much punk rock. The revolt and the DIY atitude! You read Greil Marcus’ Lipstick Traces, I guess. About Guy Debord and Situationism influence on Malcom McLaren, the producer of The Sex Pistols.

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